H(önsbä)R Innovation @ IKEA


IKEA has often received “great place to work”-type awards from various institutions and its turnover happens to be much lower than its competitors. A part of this success is explained by the company by their flat organizational structure that encourages personal initiatives and employee empowerment. IKEA is also well known for having a strong culture that promotes work-life balance, work flexibility, diversity and creativity, which also reinforces their recognition as employer. The company also has a very innovative approach to HR management that contributes to their success, but some of its HR innovative practices are a bit less known out of the company. Let me share a few examples of inspiring and fun HR innovations that the company has implemented…

– Talent attraction field: « Fit quiz »:  Would you fit in the IKEA culture? An interactive online quiz allows external applicants to assess in real time to which extent their personal values resonate with IKEA’s ones, and therefore how likely they would be to be happy and succeed in that company. How does it work? You are proposed 10 multiple-choice questions such as “If I was a car designer, I would want to be known for making cars that…” or “I’ve got a great idea for a big project… I typically…”. You can earn a virtual IKEA piece of furniture after each answer which is in line with company values and step by step you furnish a virtual room representing the likelihood to succeed with them… so, would YOU fit in the IKEA culture? Don’t hesitate to give it a try by clicking here!

– Career Management field: « I want your job » philosophy: IKEA staff is allowed to identify a desired future position in the company and ask for coaching and advice by the person who has this job. This formalized “entrepreneurial approach” to career management breaks silos, opens new career perspectives for staff and boosts internal mobility. « Paddle Your Own Canoe » approach: With the support of their managers, IKEA workers can use a self-assessment tool to identify their strengths and weaknesses, figure out the ideal career path and establish an action plan including training and development elements.

– Employee empowerment and engagement: « Why sayers » program: IKEA employees are encouraged to give ideas to improve the IKEA stores and organization. Best ideas are tested is some stores and the most successful ones are made standard practices globally. On top of the business improvements and innovations that this program brings, it is also said to reinforce employee engagement, as they feel they can have a direct impact on the way a huge company like theirs works. And actually, this message is so strong that a recruitment campaign was built around the “we are looking for Why sayers” idea some time ago.

– Recruitment: “Assemble your career” campaign: why invest in an expensive recruitment campaign when you can leverage on your products to do the HR marketing for you? To watch a short and fun video about how the company implemented a very effective HR innovation idea in Australia, please click here (IKEA career instructions video).

And by the way, yes, Hönsbär is a real IKEA product!